One of our Pride Nation members Garth Heron dedicates some of his time to volunteer at a Befriending Service for LGBT+ people aged 50 and over.
We sat down with him to talk about his experience, here is what he had to say:
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Garth Heron, and I’m Customer Experience Manager for VIP Nation Europe.
What is the cause that you volunteer for?
I volunteer for Opening Doors London, which is a Befriending Service for LGBT+ people aged 50 and over in London who feel lonely and isolated.
What does volunteering involve for you?
I have been visiting Chris regularly for the past three years, he is in his 80s and has been alone for fifteen years since the death of his partner. We chat and he tells me about his week but we often end up watching his favourite old movies – which is great as I am a big film buff too!
Why did you choose to volunteer?
As I got older I started thinking more about the debt of gratitude my generation of LGBT people owes to the older generation: they broke down barriers so that we can live openly in ways that were unthinkable 50 years ago. I wanted to give something back and make a contribution, even if only in a small individual way, so I contacted the charity and went through the necessary background checks.
How has volunteering benefited you / the cause you have volunteered for?
Chris has genuinely become a good friend and I enjoy his conversation, as well as swapping notes on the films we love. I think he is cheered up by our meetings, as he spends a lot of time alone, and it is good to provide someone in need with company and a breath of fresh air.
Any highlights from your experience?
I loved helping with the Opening Doors float for London Pride, assisting the older members to march. They received the warmest response of the day from the crowd, who immediately appreciated the challenges they had faced alongside the good-humour they displayed at the march. Pride Nation/Ticketmaster very kindly donated stereo equipment for the day!
What would you say to anyone who is thinking about volunteering
I could not recommend it more: obviously it feels good personally, but specifically because you know you are helping others and improving their quality of life, even if only briefly.
Pride Nation is an employee resource group that celebrates the incredible culture we already have at Live Nation Entertainment, celebrating the positive culture that we all enjoy, actively seeking to develop these values and ensure our offices are diverse, inclusive and enjoyable places to work for everybody. As well as partnering with Opening Doors in London, we also partner with Albert Kennedy Trust, Manchester – who support LGBT homeless young people.
Volunteering is actively encouraged at Ticketmaster, with volunteer days allocated to each employee every year.
If you'd like to know more about Pride Nation or other initiatives at Ticketmaster, contact your account manager or use our online form.
Mobile ticketing is "the way forward," says Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons.